Monday, May 25, 2015

Blog Tour: Nearly Found (Nearly Gone #2) by Elle Cosimano | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Nearly Found (Nearly Gone #2) by Elle Cosimano | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Nearly Found (Nearly Gone #2) by Elle Cosimano | Review + GiveawayNearly Found by Elle Cosimano
Series: Nearly Gone #2
Published by Penguin Teen on June 2, 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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4 Stars

The sequel to the highly praised and intricately plotted Nearly Gone--a YA urban mystery that's perfect for fans of Bones, Numbers, and The Body Finder

When Nearly Boswell starts working as an intern at a crime lab, she's hoping it will give her an advantage when it comes to college applications. But on her first day, a girl from her trailer park turns up dead. Then the corpse of a missing person is discovered, buried on a golf course, with a message for Nearly etched into the bones. When Nearly finds out the corpse is the father of Eric, a classmate of hers, she starts to worry that the body is connected to her father's disappearance five years ago. Nearly, Reece, and Nearly's classmates--Vince, Jeremy, and Eric--start a dangerous investigation into their fathers' pasts that threatens Nearly's fragile romance with Reece, and puts all them in the killer's path.

picadillyblueNearly Found is a solid sequel to Nearly Gone.  While I didn’t love it as much as it’s predecessor, it captured my attention and kept me guessing until the very end.

Nearly Boswell is back and better than ever.  With her tormentor behind bars her life should be on it’s way back to normal.  However, that is not the case.  She, along with many people in her life, have started receiving messages in places that should not be accessible to people; locked cars, bedrooms, and other private places.  It’s up to Nearly, Reece, and her fellow classmates to figure out what is going on before bodies start piling up.

Nearly and Reece are back and their relationship is still very new.  Nearly is starting school, a new internship, and on top of all that she is once again involved in some crazy stuff.  She can’t ever seem to keep herself out of trouble.  As for Reece, he has a new assignment that keeps him from spending a lot of time with Nearly and puts their new relationship on the rocks.  To be completely honest, I was a little skeptical about him this time around.  He acted quite sketchy at times.  I wanted to love him like I did in the first book but he made it difficult.

This time around Nearly had a lot more allies, even if some of them were reluctant to team up with her.  Alex and Gena are back but they don’t have prominent roles.  I still loved them though, especially Alex.  Jeremy and Anh are also back and I had some serious issues with them.  They both blamed Nearly from what happened at the end of the first book and pretty much dropped her as a friend.  I hated that.  Vince was back and a bit less of a douchebag.  Lonny was my favorite though.  He has a unique relationship with Nearly.  They have more in common than either would like to admit.

My biggest problem with Nearly Found was how much crap Nearly got away with.  She was an intern with the forensics lab and she totally took advantage of the access that granted her.  She should have been caught and in serious trouble many times but she somehow got away with it.  It was very unrealistic.  Her internship was a pretty fascinating part of the story though.

The mystery was just as good as the first book.  I was completely unable to see the connections.  I had no clue how everything was going to tie together.  There were so many times when I just wanted to skip to the end to see who it was but I forced myself not to.  I devoured the book in one day though because I could not stop reading without figuring out who the killer was.  Good luck guessing this one.

As for Nearly, her development as a character and with her ability was fantastic.  She is more open to touching people and she is really trying to learn to deal with her ability without pushing people away.

Overall, Nearly Found was a wonderful conclusion to this duology.  I look forward to reading Elle Cosimano’s next book.  I highly recommend this duology to suspense fans.

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Nearly Gone (Nearly Gone #1) by Elle Cosimano | Review

Nearly Gone (Nearly Gone #1) by Elle Cosimano | ReviewNearly Gone by Elle Cosimano
Series: Nearly Gone #1
Published by Penguin Teen on March 25, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 388
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
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5 Stars

Bones meets Fringe in a big, dark, scary, brilliantly-plotted urban thriller that will leave you guessing until the very end.

Nearly Boswell knows how to keep secrets. Living in a DC trailer park, she knows better than to share anything that would make her a target with her classmates. Like her mother's job as an exotic dancer, her obsession with the personal ads, and especially the emotions she can taste when she brushes against someone's skin. But when a serial killer goes on a killing spree and starts attacking students, leaving cryptic ads in the newspaper that only Nearly can decipher, she confides in the one person she shouldn't trust: the new guy at school—a reformed bad boy working undercover for the police, doing surveillance. . . on her.

Nearly might be the one person who can put all the clues together, and if she doesn't figure it all out soon—she'll be next.

picadillyblueSuspense novels for teens are hard to find.  Good suspense novels for teens are extremely hard to find.  Nearly Gone fits into that second category.  Elle Cosimano’s debut novel blew me away.  I was up all night reading.  I dare you to put this one down once you start it.

Nearly (yes, that is her name) spends her Friday mornings searching the personal ads in the newspaper, not always sure what she’s looking for.  One day she discovers an ad with a sinister undertone and realizes that it is meant for her.  It sets her on a course of action that brings her in the path of a killer and changes her life forever.

Nearly is a character that is impossible not to like.  She’s smart and spunky and the girl has attitude.  She was a major nerd (way smarter than I could ever be!) and while she embraced that nerdiness it also made it hard for her to fit in with most people.  She was an outsider at school and her classmates were not nice about it at all.  She wasn’t afraid to stand up for herself though and she did have some friends to back her up.  Jeremy and Anh are Nearly’s two closest friends.  It’s pretty obvious from the start that Jeremy wants more with Nearly but even so, he’s still a good friend to her.  He’s got some issues having to do with his home life and I truly wanted to see him happy.  As for Anh, she was Nearly’s friend but also her biggest competition.  I never really knew what to think of their friendship.

Then there was Reece.  Where do I even begin?  Elle Cosimano found and exploited my weakness for tattooed, pierced bad boys with good hearts.  Reece and Nearly have undeniable chemistry and their banter made me love them together.  They had some serious rough patches but they worked well together.  Reece had the street smarts and Nearly had the book smarts.  Together they made an unstoppable team.  Also, angry makeout sessions are the best.

The mystery is what really hooked me.  I was stumped from the start.  There is so much going on that I could never tie it all  back to one person.  There were definitely some red herrings that kept me on my toes too.  Elle Cosimano also doesn’t pull any punches just because it’s a YA book.  It’s not gruesome or overly horrifying but it’s not toned down for a younger audience.

As for Nearly’s ability, it helped with her investigation into the killer but it didn’t play as prominent a role as I expected.  She can sense feelings by touching someones skin.  It helped her sense when someone was lying but it’s not like she had the ability to sense what someone was lying about.  It was definitely an interesting ability though and it kind of broke my heart that Nearly could feel all the bad things people thought of her.

Overall, Nearly Gone is what I am always looking for in a YA suspense novel.  It’s fast-paced with a mystery that never becomes obvious.  Elle Cosimano’s debut is perfect for suspense fans.

What others are saying about Nearly Gone:

Presenting Lenore’s review: “NEARLY GONE is the rare mystery that is both character and plot driven. Definitely worth a look, especially if you like puzzles.”

Shae Has Left The Room’s review: “A large part of my enjoyment of this book rests on the narrow shoulders of the fantastic Nearly Boswell.”

The YA Kitten’s review: “That’s not to say the novel is a terrible mystery–honestly, the mystery angle of the novel is one of the only angles it gets right–but it needed much more work to be a good, fully formed book.”

Monday, August 11, 2014

Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss #3) by Stephanie Perkins | Review

Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss #3) by Stephanie Perkins | ReviewIsla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #3
Published by Penguin Teen on August 14, 2014
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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5 Stars

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

picadillyblueDoes it really come as a surprise to anyone that I absolutely adored the final book in the Anna and the French Kiss trilogy?  No?  Didn’t think so.  Isla and the Happily Ever After may just be the best book of the trilogy, in my opinion.

Isla and the Happily Ever After brings the trilogy full circle.  The story is once again mainly set at the School of America in Paris and the Paris scenery is just as wonderful as it was in Anna and the French Kiss.  However, the book isn’t fully set in Paris.  There is a little side trip to Barcelona as well as some time spent in New York City.  Stephanie Perkins’ books may just be contemporary romances but the setting always makes things interesting.  While I loved the Paris setting, I think Barcelona was my favorite part of Isla and the Happily Ever After.  Just like Anna and Etienne have Point Zero in Paris, Isla and Josh have La Sagrada Familia and so many other places throughout Barcelona.  They also have a few places throughout New York City and while a good portion of the book was set there, I felt more like their relationship was centered around Paris and Barcelona.

Part of the reason I loved Isla and the Happily Ever After so much was Isla.  Josh too but Isla was really a mystery before this book and she quickly showed to be a complex character with a story that I really connected with.  Isla never felt like she was good enough for anyone.  It was pretty clear that she didn’t think much of herself and so why would anyone else?  Her self esteem was beyond low but she was never a depressing character.  She had her best friend, Kurt, who suffered from Autism.  Kurt was a fantastic character.  His personality was perfect for Isla.  They grew up together and so they knew each other as if they were siblings, which they pretty much were.  I also loved how much Kurt meant to Isla.  She was willing to give up other friendships if the other person couldn’t accept Kurt.  They showed true loyalty to each other.

As for Josh, he was a much more complex character than I ever could have imagined.  Readers only get a glimpse of Josh in Anna and the French Kiss but you get his full story in Isla and the Happily Ever After.  He seems totally carefree at first but it quickly becomes clear that that is just a facade.  Josh is a deep character that balanced Isla perfectly.  Josh and Isla were pretty much opposites but they worked together.  Josh brought out a fun side of Isla and challenged her to try new things.  Isla brought out a more serious side to Josh and forced him to really look at why he did some of the things he did.  Their romance was a bit of a whirlwind but it was so much fun.  I wanted to see them both happy and it was clear that they brought out the best in each other.

The cameos from Anna, Etienne, Lola, and Cricket were minor but perfect.  I expected a bit more of them than I actually got but I was actually okay with that.  Their parts in the story were absolutely wonderful.  Isla and the Happily Ever After tied things up for all three of the couples and I couldn’t have asked for more from Stephanie Perkins.  The brief glimpses of Anna, Etienne, Lola, and Cricket definitely left me with a smile on my face.

Overall, Isla and the Happily Ever After could not have been better.  It’s the perfect ending to this trilogy and it left me eager to read whatever Stephanie Perkins writes next.  If you haven’t already started this series, you should really get on that.

What others are saying about Isla and the Happily Ever After:

Reading Teen’s review: “Isla and the Happily Ever After is a charmingly sweet addition to the trilogy.”

Lite-Rate-Ture’s review: “Stephanie Perkins knows how to end her story so well, I just felt my tiny heart clench inwards.”

Jenuine Cupcakes’ review: “Isla And The Happily Ever After is intense, heart-wrenching romantic perfection!”

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Blind by Rachel DeWoskin | Review

Blind by Rachel DeWoskin | ReviewBlind by Rachel DeWoskin
Published by Penguin Teen on August 7, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 416
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
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3 Stars

When your life as you know it is taken from you, how do you go on?

Imagine this: You are fourteen, watching the fireworks at a 4th of July party, when a rocket backfires into the crowd and strikes your eyes, leaving you blind. In that instant, your life is changed forever. How do you face a future in which all your expectations must be different? You will never see the face of your newborn sister, never learn to drive. Will you ever have a job or fall in love? This is Emma’s story. The drama is in her manysmall victories as she returns to high school in her home town and struggles to define herself and make sense of her life, determined not to be dismissed as a PBK – Poor Blind Kid. This heartfelt and heart wrenching story takes you on Emma’s journey and leaves you with a new understanding of the challenges to be faced when life deals a devastating blow.

picadillyblueBlind is an interesting take on how your life can change in an instant.  Rachel DeWoskin’s young adult debut is a wonderful story about a girl learning to go through life blind.

I think the hardest thing for readers to enjoy about Blind is the style of writing.  The writing is not bad at all but it is very wordy.  Reading from the perspective of a blind girl makes things very interesting but also very different.  The way Emma sees things now is through touch, smell, taste, and sound.   Because of that, the style of writing must encompass all of these things.  Every page of Blind is wordy and it took me a while to look past that and just enjoy the story.  I think some readers will have difficulty overlooking the weighty style of writing but it is worth it to get past.

The characters are a wonderful mix of people.  Emma, the main character, is a very hard person to like.  She is rather whiny at first and ever since her accident she’s had trouble looking past her own problems to see that other people care about her and that she is not the only one with issues.  Emma automatically assumes the worst about people but what’s even worse is that she assumes the worst about herself.  She assumes that nobody will ever love her because of her blindness, that she’s worthless without her sight, and that her life will never get better.  The only thing that kept me from getting really annoyed with her attitude was to try and see things from her point of view.  Emma’s best friend, Logan, was always there to help Emma see the bright side of things.  She was a good friend who stuck by Emma’s side after the accident and didn’t let Emma’s blindness change things in their relationship.  Sure they had their ups and downs but I considered their friendship one of the stronger ones I’ve read about.  Another friendship I liked was that of Emma and Sebastian.  Sebastian didn’t have a huge role in the story but he made an impression in the small amount of time he was there.  He was blind, like Emma, but didn’t let it stop him from trying to live a normal life.

The family relationships were by far the best part of the book.  Emma was part of a very big family consisting of 7 kids: 5 sisters and a brother.  Her brother, Benj, was my favorite of them all.  He was so adorable!  He brought some lightness to the story.  Emma’s sisters also played quite a big role.  Leah, Naomi, Jenna, Sarah, and Lily were very important to Emma no matter how often she got mad at them or how she pretended to feel about them.  Seeing how their relationships changed with Emma’s blindness only helped show how important family was to all of them.  Emma was the only one injured in the accident but not a single person in her family wasn’t affected by it.

The story was quite slow and with the addition of the wordy writing, it dragged quite a bit.  For the most part there wasn’t a great plot to the story.  Everything was all about Emma learning to live with her blindness.  Sure that was interesting but the story would have moved along a lot quicker if there was something else going on.  There was a little bit of mystery early on regarding the death of a classmate but that was cleared up pretty quickly.  This truly is a story about Emma coping with her new disability as well as learning to move on and realize that life isn’t over for her, in fact it’s only really just beginning.

Overall, Blind was a very unique story that shows things through a very different perspective.  Readers who don’t mind a slower paced story with a lot of character development will enjoy this one.

What others are saying about Blind:

A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall’s review: “The premise and story and character development are strengths of this book.”

Bunnies and Books’ review: “Rachel DeWoskin has a real gift for writing.”

June Cleaver Reads YA’s review: “Blind tries to cover too much ground for one novel.”

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Blog Tour: Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan | Review

Blog Tour: Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan | Review

Blog Tour: Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan | ReviewLove and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan
Published by Penguin Teen on May 1, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
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4 Stars

Can anyone be truly herself--or truly in love--in a language that's not her own?

Sixteen-year-old Josie lives her life in translation. She speaks High School, College, Friends, Boyfriends, Break-ups, and even the language of Beautiful Girls. But none of these is her native tongue--the only people who speak that are her best friend Stu and her sister Kate. So when Kate gets engaged to an epically insufferable guy, how can Josie see it as anything but the mistake of a lifetime? Kate is determined to bend Josie to her will for the wedding; Josie is determined to break Kate and her fiancé up. As battles are waged over secrets and semantics, Josie is forced to examine her feelings for the boyfriend who says he loves her, the sister she loves but doesn't always like, and the best friend who hasn't said a word--at least not in a language Josie understands.

picadillyblueEver since I read Erin McCahan’s debut novel, I Now Pronounce You Someone Else, I’ve been waiting to see what she’d write next.  To say I had high hopes for Love and Other Foreign Words is an understatement.  Luckily, Love and Other Foreign Words was just as great as I hoped it would be.

Josie is one of the best characters I’ve had the pleasure of reading about.  She’s smart, she’s funny, she’s unafraid to be different.  She’s everything that I always wished I was and always looked for in friends.  She may be only be 15 but she’s so much more mature than that.  She’s completely unique and she’s one of those people that either doesn’t realize that or just doesn’t care.  She is happy with herself just the way she is and it was wonderful to read about such a confident young woman.  She also has an amazing sense of humor.  I can’t tell you how many times I cracked up while reading Love and Other Foreign Words.  I attempted to read this in a public place which might not have been the best idea since people looked at me like I was crazy since I was sitting by myself cracking up at my Kindle.  Good times!

Josie’s family is also pretty awesome.  They recognize Josie’s uniqueness and they love her for it and sometimes in spite of it.  She can sometimes set people off without meaning to.  Take Geoff, Kate’s fiance.  He and Josie clashed from the very first moment they met.  He was goofy, rather dull, and nothing like what she thought her sister deserved.  However, Josie got along with most everyone else.  Her parents clearly doted upon her and were so proud of her.  Her friends were accepting of her quirks and they were always there for her, especially Stu and Sophie.  Her sisters were pretty great too although they definitely butt heads a few times.  Kate especially had some problems with Josie.  I didn’t like how Kate and Josie handled their animosity towards each other but I know how it works with siblings and their relationship was pretty darn realistic.  I liked seeing both the good and the bad sides of such a close knit family.

The romance aspect was expected but a little rushed.  Sure there were some hints throughout most of the book but nothing happened until very close to the end.  It was cute and realistic for people in their situation and at their age but I would have liked a bit more development in that area.  That’s truly the only reason I gave this book 4 stars instead of 5.

Overall, Love and Other Foreign Words is a must read for all contemporary fans.  It’s such a fun read that you won’t be able to put down!

What others are saying about Love and Other Foreign Words:

Buried in Books’ review: “Josie is one of the most delightfully quirky, intelligent, and inquiring characters I have ever met.”

HelloGiggles’ review: “Josie Sheridan is great because she’s a true-blue lovable weirdo, the type of character I really enjoy seeing.”

Rampant Readers’ review: “In conclusion, Love and Other Foreign Words was not a bad novel by any means.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Rebel Belle (Rebel Belle #1) by Rachel Hawkins | Review

Rebel Belle (Rebel Belle #1) by Rachel Hawkins | ReviewRebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins
Series: Rebel Belle #1
Published by Penguin Teen on April 8, 2014
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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5 Stars

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper's destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can't get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she's charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper's least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him--and discovers that David's own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y'all beg for more.

picadillyblueRebel Belle, the first in a new series from Rachel Hawkins, is a fun, fresh addition to the YA genre.  Rachel Hawkins’ fans will definitely love this one.

Rebel Belle has a very unique premise.  Paladins (almost super-hero like people) have powers that must be used to protect someone with the help of a mage.  In this case, Harper is the Paladin and David (her worse enemy) is the person she’s  been tasked with protecting.  The powers are thrust upon Harper out of nowhere and not only does she have to protect David, she’s gotta do it all while trying to figure out how her powers actually work.

Harper is a busybody.  She’s in charge of almost every group at school, she’s head cheerleader, homecoming queen, and preparing for Cotillion.  She is the quintessential southern belle.  When the powers of a Paladin are given to her, she decides that she can manage those too.  She’s a bit annoying in her quest for success in everything but you can’t really fault her for that.  She’s funny, smart, and kind (to everyone but David.)  She also has the perfect boyfriend, Ryan, and a wonderful best friend, Bee.  Then there’s David.  He’s quirky and smart and he can’t stand Harper.  Working with her is just as big a problem for him as it is for Harper.  However, they’re both good people at heart so they eventually start to work together to possibly save the world.

Harper and David have such fun, witty banter going on between them.  It’s easy to see the chemistry between them even though they will do anything to deny it.  They are a lot alike and working together starts to show this.  I loved them together.

The story is fast-paced and fun-filled.  Discovering the extent of Harper’s powers right there alongside her is quite the adventure.  She’s energetic and enthusiastic even in the face of danger.  She definitely cracked me up.  And there are quite a few shocking twists that will have you flipping pages as fast as possible.

Overall, Rebel Belle is beyond awesome.  If you’re looking for something that hasn’t been completely overdone, give this one a shot.

What others are saying about Rebel Belle:

Step Into Fiction’s review: “If you’re in the mood for something light and funny, let me tell you something, Rebel Belle is the book for you!”

Bibliophilia Please’s review: “Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins is my favorite novel to have a protagonist with superpowers in a long time.”

Books and Swoons’ review: “Rebel Belle was a great book to get lost in.”

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Just One Year (Just One Day #2) by Gayle Forman | Review

Just One Year (Just One Day #2) by Gayle Forman | ReviewJust One Year by Gayle Forman
Series: Just One Day #2
Published by Penguin Teen on October 10, 2013
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 323
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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5 Stars

The heartrending conclusion—from Willem’s POV—to the romantic duet of novels that began with Allyson’s story in Just One Day

After spending an amazing day and night together in Paris, Just One Year is Willem’s story, picking up where Just One Day ended. His story of their year of quiet longing and near misses is a perfect counterpoint to Allyson’s own as Willem undergoes a transformative journey, questioning his path, finding love, and ultimately, redefining himself.

picadillyblueJust One Year, the continuation of Allyson and Willem’s story from Just One Day, is the perfect conclusion to the duology.  Gayle Forman has a gift for storytelling and that gift really shines through in Just One Year.

Just One Year is the same story as Just One Day, just told from Willem’s point of view.  Readers finally find out what  happened to Willem that fateful morning.  Not only that though, you also find out what Willem was doing the year following that wonderful day in Paris.

Willem is a mystery throughout Just One Day.  Readers don’t know much about him from that one day in Paris.  That all changes with Just One Year.  You finally get Willem’s full story, including the reason he was willing to postpone going home to spend the day in Paris with Allyson.  I obviously won’t give anything away but I will say that Willem is a lot deeper than he first appeared.

I think the thing I loved most about Just One Year was how it tied in with the events of Just One Day.  Admittedly, I read Just One Day immediately before Just One Year so the details were really fresh in my mind.  That probably helped me make a lot of the connections but I’m pretty sure that readers will get them even after a while between books.  All the connections between Allyson and Willem’s stories made me laugh  but also want to scream at them both.

Gayle Forman’s talent isn’t just with storytelling.  She’s also wonderful at capturing the voice of a teenage male and conveying it perfectly.  Just like with Adam in Where She Went, Willem’s voice in Just One Year is so true and will make readers fall in love with him even more.

Overall, Just One Year made me laugh, cry, and squeal with joy.  It is the perfect conclusion to the duology and I’m eager to see what Gayle Forman does next.

What others are saying about Just One Year:

YA Midnight Reads’ review: “With the more than beautiful writing of Gayle Forman’s, we get to see Willem’s side of the story of this accidental day in Paris.”

Love is not a Triangle’s review: “Just One Year is the brilliant companion and conclusion to Just One Day.”

Jess Hearts Books’ review: “With this duology it is definitely a case of journey over destination and by the end of Just One Year I felt like both Willem and Allyson had become who they needed to be and that was down to each other and the journey they took to find a way back to one another.”

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Just One Day (Just One Day #1) by Gayle Forman | Review

Just One Day (Just One Day #1) by Gayle Forman | ReviewJust One Day by Gayle Forman
Series: Just One Day #1
Published by Penguin Teen on January 8, 2013
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
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5 Stars

Allyson Healey's life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life.

A book about love, heartbreak, travel, identity, and the "accidents" of fate, Just One Day shows us how sometimes in order to get found, you first have to get lost. . . and how often the people we are seeking are much closer than we know.

picadillyblueGoing into Just One Day, I knew I would enjoy it.  The story appealed to me, the reviews were fabulous, and I adore Gayle Forman.  Sure enough, my expectations were not only met but exceeded.

Allyson reminded me a lot of myself.  She was very much a good girl.  Rather than going out partying with friends, she spent her nights alone in the hotel room, not wanting to get in trouble and not really into the crowds.  She was smart and kind but rather quiet.  That changes when she meets Willem, an outgoing, fearless guy who does pretty much whatever he wants.  He’s a traveling actor at the end of his run and he and Allyson just happen to meet.  He brings out a new side of Allyson in the day they spend together.

Allyson and Willem’s story is key to the book but the time they spend together is actually very short (just one day.)  Following what seems like a magical night, Allyson wakes up alone and must go on with her life without him.  The year following brings a whole new Allyson and even though she constantly thinks of Willem, she has to learn to love herself without him.  College helps her with that, especially with the help of some new unexpected friends.

Gayle Forman’s writing is spectacular and her voice is spot on.  Readers will have no trouble getting hooked on Just One Day through the writing alone.

The setting of Paris (though only briefly set there) is so fabulous.  I felt like I was seeing everything alongside Allyson and Willem.  Gayle Forman includes the highlights of Paris but that is far from all she includes.  She draws attention to the lesser known attractions of Paris and it was so fun.  If you can’t make it to Paris sometime soon, read Just One Day and you’ll feel like you’re there.

Overall, read Just One Day if you haven’t already.  It’s a fabulous contemporary story that will leave you eager for the conclusion to Allyson and Willem’s story.

What others are saying about Just One Day:

Mad But Magic’s review: “Gayle Forman has yet to disappoint me.”

Book.Blog.Bake.’s review: “So many people love this one, but I found it problematic on multiple levels.”

Bookish’s review: “I don’t know whether I want to recommend this book to everybody I come across or to protect them all from the feels.”

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Reached (Matched #3) by Ally Condie | Review

Reached (Matched #3) by Ally Condie | ReviewReached by Ally Condie
Series: Matched #3
Published by Penguin Teen on November 13, 2012
Genres: Dystopian
Pages: 512
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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5 Stars

After leaving Society and desperately searching for the Rising—and each other—Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again: Cassia has been assigned to work for the Rising from within Society, while Ky has been stationed outside its borders. But nothing is as predicted, and all too soon the veil lifts and things shift once again.

In this gripping conclusion to the #1 New York Times-bestselling Matched Trilogy, Cassia will reconcile the difficulties of challenging a life too confining, seeking a freedom she never dreamed possible, and honoring a love she cannot live without.

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Reached, the final book in the Matched trilogy, will not disappoint readers. Full of action, romance, mystery, and betrayal, this book will have readers on the edge of their seats. Ally Condie concluded this trilogy perfectly!

For the first time in the history of the Matched trilogy, readers finally get Xander’s point-of-view. He is definitely the weakest link in the love triangle but that all changes with this book. Like I said in my review of Crossed, I have no problem with Xander other than the fact that I barely know the guy. He’s always been the boy next door to Cassia but he’s still a mystery to readers. In Reached he finally reveals his true passion, why he fell in love with Cassia, how he felt about her and Ky, and so much more. For the first time I actually contemplated him and Cassia together. He finally became a real option to me. Xander turned out to be a really great guy who got dealt some crappy hands in life.

As for Cassia and Ky, they were apart for quite a big chunk of the book and I think that really helped me get to know each of their characters. Cassia has changed a lot since the first book and even quite a bit since the second book. She feels that she has a purpose and she takes charge. She doesn’t discredit her ideas just because they aren’t exactly going to help with the Rising. Instead she decides to do what she can to help the people rather than the Rising. She truly found her calling in this book and she finally made me really like her. Ky, on the other hand, hasn’t changed a whole lot but that’s not a bad thing in his case. He’s still just as amazing as he was in the first book. I said that Xander finally became an option for me but he never truly changed my mind. Ky won my heart from the very first book and I’m happy to say that he ended the trilogy with it.

Every single question posed since the very first book is answered in Reached and quite a few of them were not at all what I expected. There were a couple times when my jaw almost hit the floor I was so shocked. Some little things I predicted but all the stuff that really mattered came as complete surprises to me. Readers you will love finally finding out the answers to all your questions and you won’t be able to predict a thing!

Overall, Reached is a wonderful ending to the Matched trilogy. I was greatly impressed with this final book and I can’t wait to read whatever Ally Condie writes next.

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Friday, November 9, 2012

Crossed (Matched #2) by Ally Condie | Review

Crossed (Matched #2) by Ally Condie | ReviewCrossed by Ally Condie
Series: Matched #2
Published by Penguin Teen on November 1, 2011
Genres: Dystopian
Pages: 367
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
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4 Stars

The Society chooses everything. 

The books you read. 
The music you listen to. 
The person you love. 

Yet for Cassia the rules have changed. Ky has been taken and she will sacrifice everything to find him. 

And when Cassia discovers Ky has escaped to the wild frontiers beyond the Society there is hope.

But on the edge of society nothing is as it seems...

A rebellion is rising.

And a tangled web of lies and double-crosses could destroy everything.

It’s about time I got around to reading Crossed. I’ve been wanting to read this book since I first finished Matched but for some reason I kept putting it off. While Crossed was not quite as enthralling as Matched, I’m happy to say that I enjoyed it.

Crossed starts off shortly after the final events of Matched. I admit that I read Matched a while ago. I didn’t remember exactly what happened but I remembered enough that I could muddle through things. There were a few points where I was a little confused but lucky for me, those points were clarified. As for the rest of the story, while it was a little slow, it did a good job of showing what things were like outside of the Society. The Rising started to take shape in this book and many new questions were posed about what the Society was really up to. While there wasn’t much action to this book, there was enough new information for me to be intrigued and I never once thought about putting it down.

The romance seemed very toned down from the first book. It seemed like Matched spent a good portion of the book setting up the romance between Cassia and Ky. That wasn’t the case with Crossed. There were some mixed signals in the beginning when I thought Crossed would be Cassia and Xander’s book but that was definitely not the case. The romance between Cassia and Ky is still strong but it took a backseat to everything else going on with them. New characters were introduced as well as new dangers. Crossed also was more about Ky’s past than anything. He’s not nearly as big a mystery as he was in Matched.

Cassia was a little disappointing to me in Crossed. She was brave, smart, resourceful, and all I could want in a heroine but she just didn’t seem special in any way. She was exactly like all the other dystopian/fantasy/paranormal heroines out there. I wanted her to stand out to me and she didn’t. I’m not saying I didn’t like I her (because I did), I just really wanted more from her. Ky was more interesting to me than Cassia was. He was a very troubled character, both because of his past and his present. I felt for him and I really wanted to see him happy because it was clear, no matter what he did, he was a good guy. And yes there is some Xander in Crossed but not much. Honestly, I like Ky better just because I know him better than Xander. I have no issues with either boy. I think they are both great guys but at this point in time I am 100% Team Ky.

Overall, Crossed does a great job setting things up for the final book in the trilogy. It narrowly avoided the second book syndrome but in the end I was pleased with it. Things are relatively wrapped up at the end, it’s not a cliffhanger, and readers won’t mind the wait for the final book too much.

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